Climate change impact on NZ marine ecosystems examined

  • 05/09/2015

Scientists are hoping funding for research on the impact of climate change on New Zealand's marine ecosystems will help chart the future of fish farming and recreational fishing.

The research by NIWA scientists will look at how ocean acidification, which is caused by increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is affecting marine life.

The research received funding of $4.9 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment's 2015 science investment round announced on Thursday.

Acidity levels will be monitored at three locations to determine the impacts on greenshell mussels, paua and snapper, says Dr Rob Murdoch, NIWA's general manager of research.

The three species are particularly important to New Zealand ecologically, economically and culturally, he says.

Dr Murdoch said the research would enable scientists to forecast the future prospects for aquaculture and recreational fisheries as well as consider ways of managing acidification where possible.

NIWA also received $3m to research biosecurity threats from non-indigenous species in New Zealand waters.

A total of $96.5m funding over the next four years across 48 new science research programmes has been allocated, with more than half being awarded to environmental and biological research.